A lot of people love forsythia as a harbinger of spring, like peepers or robins. I think it’s pretty ugly.
I’m allergic to yellow in general, and I find forsythia to be a particularly awful shade of yellow. It’s fine in the roadside median, but I really don’t want it in my garden anymore.
Like other two-week wonders in the garden, it should do more to earn its keep than bloom its head off for 2 or 3 weeks and then just sit there with its boring greenery. Give me a plant with interesting bark, fragrance, berries, variegated foliage, flowers all summer.
I inherited a big forsythia shrub that sits just off the side of the house.
I’ve hacked away at over the years to get it into a graceful, arcing shape and to get it to bloom more vigorously, but it still doesn’t look very good.
As you can see, all the blooms are on the outside branches, with lots of old dead wood in the center of the plant.
Here’s a shot from a week earlier. You can really see all the old wood.
To really bring this plant back so that it’s covered with blooms inside and out, I’m going to have to go in there with a saw and take it almost to the ground.
(And now that I’ve firmed up my thoughts about forsythia, I’ll probably rip it out entirely.)
Anyway, now’s the time to trim up your forsythia, just after it blooms and well before it sets buds for next year’s bloom.
Forsythia is a fast grower that can stand up to a lot of hard trimming. It really will look better next spring if you give it a serious haircut now.